Our Saturday sojourns to the movies gave Mom a much needed break. We’d be gone almost all day Saturday returning just before dark. With four kids, she needed it. When my younger sister, Donna and younger brother, Jack, known as the Babies, were old enough to accompany us, our mom let us take them to the Marbro. I knew she let us take them anywhere to get them out of her hair for a while. We were cautioned to hold their hands and watch both ways crossing the street. She didn’t know that as soon as we crossed the threshold we banished them to the balcony and took off with our friends. We warned them “not to tell or we wouldn’t take them again.” They were sworn to secrecy and promised to wait for us after the show. In exchange for their freedom, they kept their promise.
But the Babies were a couple of holy terrors and got into mischief if left on their own. Although their sweet and innocent faces did not betray it, they were capable of mayhem. Once, while perched in the balcony, watching a boring remake of State Fair with Ann Margaret and Pat Boone, they were inspired to drop water balloons on the patrons below. Since they had no water balloons they decided to improvise. They agreed to make the supreme sacrifice and make do with Carnation chocolate malted milk drinks instead. As we waited for a rare and exciting moment in the film when Ann Margaret protested to Pat about how important her show business career in the carnival was to her, the tots dangled over the balcony railing.
“Ready? One, two, three—go!”
The little darlings pitched the drinks over the side along with a couple of ice cream cones, held their breath, and waited for a reaction. The bombs hit a man with his arm wrapped around his date seated in the orchestra below the balcony. Barb and I, seated below in the orchestra heard the man yell.
“Mother f#$%^r! I am going to kill you assholes!” pealed out across a hushed theater.
The Babies peeped over the balcony to assess the damages. The victim’s topcoat and fedora, placed neatly in his lap, were drenched with chocolate goo. His head was plastered with malted milk and Drumsticks, bits of waffle cone stuck to his ears. A platoon of teenage ushers, neighborhood thugs and the older brothers of our friends who liked to bully the younger kids, were employed to keep the peace and eject rowdy patrons. The ushers were dispatched to the balcony to find the troublemakers. Donna and Jack sank even lower into their seats and tried to look younger than 4 and 5.
“Hey you kids, who did that?” demanded the head usher, looking very official in his braided uniform.
“Some big kids did it—they ran that way,” the little punks lied straight-faced, suppressing their squeals of delight.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish